The Markets Now: Facebook Declines After Downgrades
Google and Dell rise.
A higher unemployment rate in January, amidst a contraction of the GDP in the same week, did not bolster investor confidence this morning, bringing stocks lower.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% in January, adding 157,000 jobs. The measure of unemployment including both job seekers and part -time workers stayed the same at 14.4%.
In other economic news, consumer sentiment is up at 73.8 from 71.3 in mid-January, indicating that consumer confidence is moving back on trend. Consumer sentiment hit the low 80s in October and November.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares rose 1.66% to $767.88 after the company submitted proposals to regulators in an effort to end its investigation by the EU. Several companies, including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), have complained to the European Union that Google is too dominant in its online search, violating antitrust rules.
HSBC Holdings' (NYSE:HBC) stock declined 0.16% to $56.77 after China approved HSBC's $7.4 billion stake in Ping An Insurance, a Thai company.
Merck's (NYSE:MRK) fourth-quarter net income fell and earnings per share of $0.83 barely beat analyst averages. Merck gave a downbeat profit forecast for 2013, estimating $3.60 to $3.70 in earnings this year. Its stock fell 2.47% to $42.17.
Anheuser-Busch's (NYSE:BUD) bid to buy Grupo Modelo (PINK:GPMCF) for $20 billion is being blocked by the US Department of Justice, which says the deal runs against global antitrust regulations. Its stock rallied, however, 2.81% to $91.09.
Chevron's (NYSE:CVX) rise in fourth-quarter profit pleasantly surprised investors. The company reported net income of $3.70 per share, up from $2.58 per share last year. Shares rose 0.71% to $115.97.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) reported robust earnings of $44.9 billion, up 9% from last year. Shares edged down 0.27% to $89.72.
Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) is closer to a deal to sell the company to a buyout consortium involving founder and CEO Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, Reuters reported. Its stock surged 4.31% to $13.81.
Audience Inc. (NASDAQ:ADNC) made a profit in its fourth-quarter earnings as its mobile use increased. That's an improvement from a loss of $5.56 per share a year earlier. Shares rallied 22.43% to $14.96. Audience, which recently went public in May, produces technology to improve sound in phones and filter out unwanted noise.
Generic pharmaceutical company Perrigo Co. (NASDAQ:PRGO) stock rose 6.14% to $106.68 after it posted better than expected earnings at $1.12 a share. Perrigo's 2013 forecast ranged between $5.45 and $5.65 per share. Analysts expect $5.54 a share on average.
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced it will change its name to BlackBerry after its launch of the BB10. Shares moved up 0.77% to $13.08.
Echo Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ECTE) offered 13,333,333 shares of common stock at $0.75 per share. The stock has been down almost 50% in the past year. Its stock plunged 30.21% to $0.81.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continued to fall Friday morning, declining 1.15% to $420.32.
Commodities futures were mostly up Friday. Crude oil inched up 0.09 to 97.58, and gold increased 11.1 to 1673.1.